H.E. Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary, UAE Ministry of Economy, stated that innovation excellence is key to our quest and is leading our movement towards a knowledge economy.
Speaking at the opening of the International Conference for the launch of the 8th cycle of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award 2014 at the Raffles Hotel on Tuesday, H.E. Al Shehhi further stressed that the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award, which has now gone GCC-wide, is one step towards cultivating a unified approach to innovation.
H.E. Al Shehhi informed that as an integral part of the vision and destiny of the Gulf, the UAE is working to remove obstacles to growth and encourages sharing best practice across the GCC region.
He further stated that the UAE leadership is committed to the shift to a knowledge economy, through innovation which will also benefit the GCC region as this will create a competitive business environment, and ultimately enhance the competitiveness of GCC businesses across the world, he said.
H.E. Al Shehhi welcomed the start of the 8th cycle of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award organised by Dubai Chamber and with it a new push to embed business excellence across the region for which everyone has to play his role in creating a world-class economy, he said adding that the international conference will provide the impetus to achieve the targeted goals of economic growth and prosperity in the GCC region.
Wishing all participating organisations best of luck at this 8th cycle of the all-inspiring award, H.E. Al Shehhi lauded Dubai Chamber’s efforts in initiating the award and for continuously promoting a culture of excellence amongst the business community not only in the UAE but the rest of the GCC region.
In his keynote address, H.E. Hisham Al Shirawi, 2nd Vice Chairman, Dubai Chamber, said that this latest cycle of the award and its complementary Business Performance Program is now open to all privately owned businesses across the GCC as business excellence and the quest for innovation and global competitive advantage will have no borders within the GCC region, he said.
He also said that this is another tie that binds the region together for more shared benefit, socio-economic development, growth and prosperity for its people while opening the doors for more FDI and high performance global players, said H.E. Al Shirawi.
He further added that GCC Chambers will also have a role to play in this transformation process of encouraging innovation and the creation of competitive advantages as well as supporting the concept of a single innovative market.
The 2nd Vice Chairman of Dubai Chamber informed that since its launch in 2005, the past seven cycles of the award have helped over 1,000 organisations across a variety of economic sectors while till date, 109 companies have been awarded for their outstanding achievements in setting an example in excellence.
Besides recognition, the most prized facet of this award process is the invaluable learning journey that all participants are involved in, whether award winners or participants, he said.
Entitled “Quest for Innovation Excellence in the GCC – Shifting Regional Paradigms to a Knowledge Economy”, the high-level International Conference focused on prioritising organisational innovation and sustainable improvement throughout an organisation in the UAE and the entire Gulf region.
It brought together a select panel of distinguished speakers including local excellence champions as well as internationally renowned business excellence experts to impart excellence know-how and share their valued experiences from around the world.
H.E. Mohammad Al Muallem, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region, spoke on building a competitive advantage and creating value through innovation as H.E. Khamis Juma Buamim, Chairman, Drydocks World & Maritime World, talked about business transformation through continuous innovation while Mr. Arijit Ghose, Managing Director, Unilever Gulf, discussed consumer focused innovation, the case for building sustainability.
Dr. Shadi Fouad Khawandanah, Chairman of the Board, CEO, Special Direction Group, KSA, gave a presentation on 1400+years of business innovation, while Mr. Paul Steel, President and CEO Total Quality, Inc., USA and Senior Examiner member of the Baldrige Board of Examiners, spoke on the role of innovation in the evolution of enterprises.
On his part, Mr. Alex Budiman, Head of Program Management and Regulatory Affairs, Biosensors Interventional Technologies Pte Ltd, Singapore, provided a Singapore case study: the importance of innovation and adaptability in a dynamic market while Mr. Ihab Ghattas, Assistant President, Huawei Technologies, Middle East, discussed the value of developing capabilities to foster innovation.
H.E. Khamis Juma Buamim, Chairman, Drydocks World & Maritime World, said: “The effectiveness of an organisation and its ability to capture new markets can be enhanced through innovation and by improving and transforming processes. Strategic leadership, staff-focused innovation, knowledge base creation, and change management are key to achieve success in today’s environment. This is important to sustain the competitive advantage.
“Adopting ‘SMART’ solutions in IT and engineering, conducting total process reviews and aligning these to business needs and assessing people’s competencies and taking a proactive approach to talent management, development and training, will contribute effectively in creating a knowledge based company that in turn will help in propelling the country’s economic growth and progress,” added H.E. Buamim.
The post-lunch interactive forum and panel discussion which was chaired by Dr. Belaid Rettab, Senior Director, Economic Research and Sustainable Business Development Sector, Dubai Chamber concluded with a token of appreciation presented to the speakers.
Since its inception, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award, which is organised annually under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has assisted many companies across the UAE meet international standards and achieve innovative excellence.
Now, the award has opened its doors to GCC companies to align their business practices with the best global organisations.